Rolls-Royce Dawn

The Rolls Royce Dawn is a new convertible model for 2016. While it's somewhat based on the Wraith coupe, the automaker is quick to claim that 80% of the bodywork is new.

The Dawn is a top-shelf convertible in every way, as one might expect from Rolls Royce. The automaker's ubiquitous 6.6L twin-turbo V12 engine and 8-speed transmission always proves itself capable of pushing even Rolls Royce's heaviest. When equipped in the 5,600 lb Dawn therefore drives and handles like a much lighter car.

It's not hard to see why people make comparisons to the Wraith coupe. The Dawn shares other Rolls' slightly raked grille, long hood, rectangular LED headlamps and "suicide" doors. The Dawn is covered by a fabric (chosen because of tradition) convertible top that rolls up and down in 22 seconds and is, by all accounts, completely silent.

This being a Rolls Royce, it comes ridiculously well-appointed. From the adjustable ride control suspension to the 20" alloy wheels, to the directional headlamps, to the 8-way power front seats to the remote keyless entry to the acres of leatheriest leather trim, it may seem similarly equipped to many other cars, but it's the way Rolls Royce executes all the mundane appointments that make it like no other car.

Also typical of Rolls Royce, the Dawn is almost endlessly upgradeable. Four different 21" alloy wheels are available, 60 exterior paint colors and 6 convertible colors. Even the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' hood ornament comes in 3 configurations.

A Driver Assistance package adds lane departure warning, a heads-up display, infra red "night vision" technology and automatic high-beam assistance. Other options include several interior wood trims, personalized treadplates, headrest embroidery and a personalized umbrella.

Editors' First Take

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It's a bit of an odd feeling, slipping behind the wheel of a car that costs more than your condo. What if I scrape the wheels? What if someone hits me? Do I look like a complete and utter @$$hat?"

Fortunately those feelings quickly dissipate while driving the 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn, and frankly, I knew I looked good. Like, real good.

Driving the Dawn through Los Angeles morning rush hour traffic is a bit nerve wracking. This four-seater is a big car. Tipping the scales at 5,644 pounds, the Dawn has a total length of over 17 feet and total width of over 6 feet. A corner carver this is not. No, the Dawn is meant for cruising, and it does that amazingly well.

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